Rising Star Accountants: Christopher Passmore
By Helen Floersh
Originally published in the May 29 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal
Christopher Passmore, 40, began his career at Pricewaterhousecoopers, where he worked with publicly and privately held businesses. He joined Martini, Iosue & Akpovi 10 years ago and was promoted to managing partner last year. He specializes in assurance and business consulting services to emerging and middle market companies, and focuses on manufacturing, professional services, franchises and benefit plans. He spends his free time with his family – his children are 7 and 10 – and he enjoys cycling and exploring southern California.
TITLE: Managing Partner
FIRM: Martini, Iosue & Akpovi, Encino
SPECIALTY: Assurance and business consulting to emerging and middle-market
HOBBIES: Charity, cycling and exploring Southern California with his family
Question: Why accounting?
Answer: I wanted to help clients grow their businesses and achieve their goals. The opportunity to become an entrepreneur also appealed to me. In accountancy, you can become a partner and run your own business – this is not possible in all professions.
Your role in the firm?
As the managing partner, I spend time planning and driving forward the firm’s strategy. Which products should we develop and offer? Should we open new offices?
What defines “star accountants”?
It is a balance between the ability to apply technical accountancy knowledge and the softer skills such as being an effective communicator and being able to empathize with your clients. I have always been good at communicating complex accounting concepts to clients who do not have an accountancy background.
One third of my time is interacting directly with the firm’s clients; one third managing the firm on a day-to-day basis; and one third on the firm’s development.
Best part of your job:
Every client’s business is like a puzzle. Sometimes you know that something is not right, but the solution or missing piece is not always obvious. It is extremely satisfying when you figure it out.
Biggest misconception about accounting?
People often think that accountants do not need to have people skills. To be successful in this profession you need to be good with a calculator and have good client service skills.
Your personality at work:
I am told I am very calm and this helps me when dealing with multiple client deadlines. I approach projects step-by-step until they are completed.
New generation of accountants:
I have been inspired by the previous generation’s work ethic and their willingness to go out and do what is needed to provide excellent client service. I think the main differences have been driven by technology. Today, we have more control as we can work remotely, we can provide more client tools such as online portals and data analysis programs, and we are being kinder to the environment by using less paper.